Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

Melissa Mikec switches from rifle to pistol prior to the San Salvador 2023 Games

Enthusiastic over the XXIV Central American and Caribbean Games San Salvador 2023, Salvadoran athlete Melissa Mikec confirmed her return to sport shooting and high-level competition, but she’s switching from rifle to pistol.

Melissa, who resides in Serbia since 2010 with her husband Damir Mikec, who is an Olympic medalist and world pistol champion, explained that the change was made due to a medical condition.

“A year back, before my second pregnancy, I had complications when returning to rifle practice. My diagnosis confirmed that two vertebrae, L4 and L5, had moved. The doctor recommended me to make a pause, and also to do therapy and exercises to return to the sport. I did as I was told, but I had problems when I returned. The change was mostly due to health reasons”, the athlete, who used to shoot air rifles and .22 caliber rifles with Johana Pineda and Ana Ramírez, explained.

After a series of shooting practices at the shooting range in Jorge “Mágico” González National Stadium, the athlete expressed that the adjustment process to the new weapon is looking promising.

“I’ve had to adapt to the size difference of the target, because it’s larger in comparison to the rifle target, which has a smaller circle. Also, the weight of the weapon is different; the rifle weighs 5 and a half kilos, the pistol weighs less, and it can be used with one hand, which works to my advantage because of my back problems. When I saw the chance to focus into this mode, I mentioned to my trainer (Ninfa Chávez) that it was time to make the change”, she said.

Melissa has taken the pistol practice so seriously that she now wishes to qualify for the Central American and Caribbean Games and participate in other competitions of the Olympic cycle.

“It would be ideal to qualify for these games that are being celebrated, I am positive. But I like to be organized, and I hope to be there and see if I can get good results in the technical tests to be able to represent El Salvador at the games”, she remarked.

Melissa’s sport career adds up to 20 years now. The highlights in her record, which also add Central American and Central American and Caribbean medals, include participations at the 2012 London Olympics, and the 2011 and 2019 Pan American Games, the latter being her last high caliber competition.

“Sport is my lifestyle, and I decided to give pistol a try because my trainer in El Salvador is also a pistol athlete. I am very positive, and I love the pistol discipline. I’ve been well-received in the team, and I like the way in which everything is turning out; but I am planning it properly and going one step at a time”, the athlete remarked.

In December 2022, the Salvadoran athlete shot at the Serbian National Championship, and she mentioned that she was placed 20th out of 50 shooters. “Many trainers told me that for my first competition, the results were good”, she expressed.

Her first challenge as a pistol athlete will be earning a place in the national team to compete in the San Salvador 2023 Games. In the next months, the Salvadoran Shooting Federation has scheduled some technical tests that will be decisive to define the spots in the national sport shooting team for the regional competition.

“I am staying in the country until March 1st, then I am going back to Serbia to continue training and following my preparation plan. For me, the Olympic cycle that is concluding in 2024 with the Paris games is just beginning”, she added.

The Salvadoran married Olympic medalist and world champion Damir Mikec, and they live in Serbia since 2010, where she trains, studies, and looks after their two kids, Milan Ricardo, aged 7, and Mía Vanessa, aged 2.

She is enthusiastic about representing El Salvador in other edition of the Central American and Caribbean Games.

“I am really happy because the games are being celebrated in our country. Even if I don’t get to participate, it’s a great joy because every country will be following these competitions. I have friends in other countries such as Germany and France that have told me that the Central American and Caribbean Games are the equivalent of the Mediterranean Games in Europe”, the athlete expressed.

Mikec remembers that she was a volleyball player during the San Salvador 2002 Games, and now she hopes to participate as a pistol athlete.

Leave a comment